Transforming Black Riven Slate in High Bentham, Lancashire

We were asked to come and advise a customer regarding their stone floor which the customer was struggling to keep clean. The property was in High Bentham which lies on the River Wenning, just West of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Slate Floor Before Cleaning High Bentham

We often get customers who give up looking after their tiles after a while as some stone like this Black Riven Slate need quite a bit of upkeep to keep them looking good and a standard mop and bucket at times isn’t enough to keep them looking pristine. In this case the sealant had worn away in the high traffic areas and the floor had a slightly rough texture to the surface which meant it was holding onto dirt making it difficult to keep clean. We proposed the floor should be cleaned and resealed, discussed the cost and agreed a time for the work to be carried out.

Slate Floor Before Cleaning High Bentham

Cleaning a Black Riven Slate Tiled Floor

To get the tiles clean we burnished the stone floor with a coarse 200-Grit Diamond pad fitted to a weighted buffing machine using water for lubrication. The floor was then rinsed and then the process repeated using a series of different graded pads, namely the 400 and 800 grit burnishing pads which further cleaned and resurface the appearance of the stone.

The grout was cleaned using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was scrubbed into the grout lines by hand; Pro-Clean is a heavy-duty cleaner which gets to the really stubborn stains and it did a great job at getting the grout looking like it should. The cleaning process was then finished off by rinsing the floor with water and extracted the slurry with a wet vacuum. The floor was inspected and retreated to the same process where more work was required. We usually find leaving Pro-Clean on a stain for longer and assisting with a bit of steam helps to lift the dirt out of the pores of the stone.

Once cleaned thoroughly we rinsed the floor again and then extracted as much moisture from the floor as possible with a wet vacuum before leaving it to dry off fully overnight.

Sealing a Riven Black Slate Tiled Floor

We called back the following day to apply a sealer first checking the floor was dry using a moisture meter. All was well, so we started to apply the first of two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, a third coat was attempted but the slate would not accept any more sealer, and this was removed with a cloth. It is important to know if you have reached FCS (Full Cure Sealability) if not then the pores of the tiles will still be open to accepting dirt and the job won’t last long. Over a very short period of time the tiles will diminish in stature and finish.

Slate Floor During Sealing High Bentham

The sealer really restored the black colour to the Slate and transformed the look of the floor. As always, we left the customer a free bottle of Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner, using the correct cleaning product in future will ensure they get maximum life out of the sealer.

Slate Floor After Sealing High Bentham Slate Floor After Sealing High Bentham

The floor looked lovely when finished and the customer was very happy with the overall result.

 

Source: Riven Slate Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in High Bentham, Lancashire

Incorrectly Sealed Copper Slate Floor Resealed in Heysham

This customer in the coastal village of Heysham had recently had these beautiful Copper Slate Tiles laid by a builder who had been working on the house. As part of the work he also sealed them with a solvent aerosol sealer. Floor tiles experience a lot of wear from foot traffic and as a result the sealer only lasted about two weeks before it had worn off and dirt had started to penetrate the pores of the stone. The photos below were taken two months after they were sealed.

Rough Slate Before Cleaning Heysham

Aerosol sealers are only good for wall Tiles where they experience minimum contact, we usually only recommend their use for shower cubicle or wet rooms and they need constant topping up every 6 months or so. In our experience floor surfaces receive a lot of abrasion from the traffic of shoes and so on which will diminish an aerosol applied sealer very quickly.

Rough Slate Before Cleaning Heysham

Cleaning Rough Copper Slate Tiles

It makes sense to clean tiled floors before applying a sealer otherwise you simply trap the dirt under the seal which will reduce its appearance. So before re-sealing the floor with something more effective it was treated to an abrasive clean using a 200-grit diamond encrusted floor burnishing pad fitted to a weighted buffer machine. The pad was run over the whole floor using water to lubricate and with the machine running at slow speed to reduce splashing.

Next step was to clean the recessed grout which pads can struggle to reach, this was done by applying a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean along the grout lines and then scrubbing it in with a stiff grout brush by hand. Once done the residue from the tile and grout cleaning was rinsed off the floor with water and then extracted with a wet vacuum.

Sealing Rough Copper Slate Tiles

The floor was left to dry off completely overnight and I returned the next day to re-seal, this time with a more suitable product. My sealer of choice for Slate is Tile Doctor Seal and Go which will not only protect the stone from dirt and staining but also adds a very pleasing sheen finish. The new sealer really brought out the black and copper colours in the stone and now looks amazing.

Rough Slate After Cleaning Heysham

For long-term care I always recommend customers avoid the use of steam cleaners and acidic or strong alkaline cleaning products which can prematurely reduce the life of the sealer resulting in dirt becoming trapped in the pores of the stone again. Naturally Tile Doctor have designed a product for this which is called Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner, supplied in concentrated form when diluted with water it becomes pH neutral and safe to use on sealed surfaces. I always leave my customers with a complimentary bottle after cleaning their floor, so they are reminded what to use.

Rough Slate After Cleaning Heysham

 
 
Source: Slate Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in Heysham, Lancashire

Slate Tiled Hallway Repaired and Restored following Central Heating Installation in Lancashire

Rough Slate is notorious for homeowners to maintain as dirt can quickly become trapped in the rough surfaces. The example on this page is that of Brazilian Semi Riven Slate installed in the Kitchen of a house in the village of Hornby, which while naturally cleft from the rock loses none of its texture and style and yet has a much smother appearance than the typical rough Slates from China. Less processing means it’s not quite completely smooth but it is a lot less expensive to buy than say a honed or polished Slate which is more difficult to maintain due to various polishing techniques required to keep up the appearance. Brazilian Slate is in fact one of my favourite slates to clean and also one of the most rewarding of Slates to seal as the sealer really does bring out the colour and character of the stone.

Sealers provide a protective barrier on natural stone floors and without it dirt can penetrate into the pores of the stone making it more and more difficult to clean effectively. Unfortunately on this floor the new homeowners were unaware on what sort of Stone it was and had no idea how to look after it which resulted in the sealer wearing down prematurely and the floor becoming dull and un-inviting.

Semi-Riven Slate floor Before Cleaning Hornby Semi-Riven Slate floor Before Cleaning Hornby

Cleaning Black Semi-Riven Brazilian Slate Tiles

To restore the appearance of the Slate floor we started by taping up the edges of the new kitchen units to protect the wood from splashing. This was followed with an application of a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-clean worked in with a black buffing pad fitted to a buffing machine running at slow speed (working at a slower speed results in less splashing). The pads can struggle to reach the edges and corners so these were cleaned by hand.

Once we had finished on the main floor area we then concentrated on the grout using a steam cleaner and more Pro-clean scrubbed in with a narrow stiff brush.

Last step of the cleaning was to rinse the floor with water to remove any trace of cleaning products from the Slate and then dried off the floor the best we could with our high wattage wet vacuum machine and left the floor to dry off naturally over night.

Sealing Black Semi-Riven Brazilian Slate Tiles

The next day we returned to seal the floor checking first that the floor had completely dried. The customer had requested a matt finish however we have worked on Brazilian Slate many times before and we knew how good they can look with this Satin finish sealer. Naturally its the customers decision so we offered to do a test piece and let them decide if they didn’t like it we would strip off the test piece and apply a Matt finish sealer like Tile Doctor Colour Grow instead.

The floor was dry so a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go were applied to one Tile so that they could appreciate how it would look. Luckily the customer agreed with us and so we set about sealing the whole floor with Seal and Go.

To speed up the drying process Air Blowers were installed as we worked and it wasn’t long before the sealer was dry and the customers were able to walk on the floor and inspect every area before we left. I’m please to report that they were over the moon with the floor and my recommendation of sealer.

Semi-Riven Slate floor After Cleaning Hornby Semi-Riven Slate floor After Cleaning Hornby

To maintain the slate tiles going forward we always give our customers a free bottle of Tile Doctor pH neutral tile cleaner, which is a little incentive for them to provide some feedback via our website.
 
 
Source: Slate Tile Cleaning and Restoration Service in Hornby, Lancashire

Getting the Best Our of Black Brazilian Slate Tiles

Tenuous link I know but I worked on this semi riven Black Brazilian Slate Tiles in the kitchen and dining room of a house in the seaside town of Thornton-Cleveleys around the time of the Rio Olympics. I love working on Slate as although it’s appearance can degrade without proper maintenance due to a build-up of dirt I knew they would look fantastic by the time I had finished.

Brazilian Black Slate Before Cleaning Thornton Cleveleys

The tile itself had lost its rich black colour and the grout lines had become stained, leaving the floor as a whole looking very unattractive. Out of interest honed Slate has a smooth, refined texture whereas the riven Slate has a rougher, more natural texture, and this can make it more difficult to keep clean. Needless to say, the customer was keen to have the tiles restored to looking their best.

Brazilian Black Slate Before Cleaning Thornton Cleveleys

Cleaning Black Semi-Riven Brazilian Slate Tiles

To restore the appearance of the Slate, I cleaned the floor and removed what remained of the old sealer off using Tile Doctor Remove and Go. This was scrubbed into the floor using a scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. The floor was then rinsed with water, and the process repeated where necessary to tackle particularly stubborn areas of dirt.

As mentioned previously, the grout lines were in a particularly bad state, and would need special cleaning attention. I cleaned carefully with a strong 5-to-1 dilution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean with water, which is our high alkaline cleaner. The cleaning solution was scrubbed I’m using a stiff handheld grout brush, with the grout lines looking immediately cleaner. When I was satisfied that the grout lines had been restored to the best possible condition, I gave the floor a thorough rinse using the wet pickup function of a wet wax machine to get the floor as dry as possible and then left the whole floor to dry off overnight.

Sealing Black Semi-Riven Brazilian Slate Tiles

Upon my return to the property I ran some quick damp tests to check that the floor was completely dry. This is important as any excess moisture would have prevented me from sealing the tiles, since it can cloud the sealer and damage it performance.

Previously I discussed sealer options with the customer and they stated that they would prefer a Satin finish, so I applied a sealer called Tile Doctor Seal and Go, our topical sealer which will both protect the Slate from dirt and stains, and also gave it the desired finish. As you can see from the below photographs, the rich, dark shades in the Slate were really enhanced.

Brazilian Black Slate After Cleaning Sealing Thornton Cleveleys

The customer was very pleased with the finished result, but was also concerned about keeping the Slate clean in the long-term. For regular cleaning I advised the customer to use a pH neutral cleaner for aftercare called Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner. As a pH neutral cleaner, it will not erode the sealer compared to acidic cleaners you so often find in supermarkets.

Brazilian Black Slate After Cleaning Sealing Thornton Cleveleys

 
 
Source: Slate Tile Cleaning and Restoration Service in Lancashire

Deteriorated Slate Tiled Floor Rejuvinated in Southport

An unusual but attractive combination of semi riven black Slate with white Marble inserts had been installed in the hallway of this residence in the town of Southport. This floor had not been cleaned properly in some time, in fact the local Tile Shop had given the customer the incorrect tile cleaning product for the job which had slowly stripped the sealer off the tile leading to dirt becoming ingrained into the tile and making it difficult to clean which resulted in the deteriorated condition you see on the picture below:

Black Slate with White Marble Inserts Southport Before Cleaning

Cleaning Black Slate and Marble Inserts

The remedy was to give the floor a good deep clean and then reseal so I got to work and applied a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean onto the floor leaving it to soak in for fifteen minutes before working it in with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary buffing machine. This process soon had the dirt running out of the floor and the soiled solution was removed using a wet vacuum. The process was repeated for stubborn area and this time the grout was scrubbed by hand using a stiff brush and more Pro-Clean. Pro-Clean is a multi-purpose alkaline based cleaning product that’s safe to use on Tile, Stone and Grout and given there was hardly any sealer left it wasn’t necessary to use a stronger dilution. Once I was happy with the floor it was washed down with more water to remove any trace of cleaning products and then the water removed using the wet vacuum and then left to dry overnight.

Sealing Black Slate and Marble Inserts

We have a number of sealing products suitable for Slate and Marble each one with a different effect but given then floor was predominately slate I decided opt for four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which provides stain protection and leaves a nice low sheen finish.

Black Slate with White Marble Inserts Southport After Cleaning

Before leaving I let them know about Tile Doctor Neutral Clean which is a cleaning product that has a near neutral PH and is specially designed for cleaning sealed floors.
 
 
Source: Slate Tile Cleaning Services in Southport